Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day reading: Great oped on protecting workers ...

Link here

Barack Obama’s vow to create a “rising, thriving” middle class has instead produced stagnant incomes, a weak consumer economy and a surge in government dependency – all while his overbearing executive branch actively works against the best interests of American laborers. And no agency has been more instrumental in this assault on American productivity than the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) – which was recently at the heart of a major constitutional crisis.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Lottery system for Broadway (touring) shows

I'll be going to ...

I won a "twitter lottery" to purchase $27 tickets for The Book of Mormon in Philadelphia.  This is a show I've wanted to see for quite a while, so I'm excited to get tickets (and at a great price).

Many Broadway theaters have either a system where people can get last-minute seats, usually good ones, by going through a system called "rush" or a "lottery".  The rush system is where some seats are reserved until the day of the show and sold for a low price (often $25-$40 when they would otherwise cost $100+) at a particular time.  For rush tickets, sometimes you'd need to get to the ticket booth several hours in advance.  (Law of demand in action here - the lower the price, the greater the quantity demanded!)

The lottery system is different.  There you just enter your name and at some set time prior to the show there is a drawing to see who will purchase the low-priced tickets.

For this touring version of The Book of Mormon, you enter the lottery via twitter by retweeting a specific tweet.  I did and won seats.

Here are two questions for economics students:

1. What's more efficient: a rush system or a lottery system?
2. Why would a Broadway show sell good seats at such a discount?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A police officer answers questions on Ferguson ...

Link here

The whole article is great.  Here's an excerpt:
Shooting events are over far faster than most people think. According to a scientifically-validated study on reaction times, the time from a threat event to recognition of the threat (the decision making process) is 31/100 second. The mechanical action of pulling the trigger is as fast as 6/100 of a second. 
For those who aren't anti-police but are curious about some issues claimed in the Ferguson case, this is great.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Disparate treatment vs. impact

It is so crucial to understand the difference between these two facts.  This includes academia.  Many professors who get upset about supposed discrimination, don't understand this difference.

Pacific Legal Foundation has a nice write-up here.

It starts:
There are two types of discrimination recognized by our various civil rights laws: disparate treatment and disparate impact. The former is conscious, intentional discrimination.  The latter is unintentional, and is demonstrated through statistical disparities.  Here on the Liberty Blog we have often posted on various absurd applications of disparate impact theory.  We have also notedhow the Obama Administration is trying to inject disparate impact into nearly every facet of American life.  Disparate impact is a pernicious doctrine that forces racial balancing, hurts business, and violates the Equal Protection Clause.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tax inversions - Mankiw's take

Click here for Mankiw's piece on tax inversions.  My favorite excerpt:
The great 20th-century jurist Learned Hand— who, by the way, has one of the best names in legal history — expressed the principle this way: “Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes.”

Negative economic impact of hurricanes

Full paper here

Excerpt from WSJ:
What they found is that the popular idea that disasters stimulate growth and economic losses are made up quickly isn’t true. Storms cause a long-running reduction in per capita real gross domestic product.
The researchers found if during the course of a year each location in a country experienced maximum cyclone wind speeds of 9.4 meters per second (m/s) above average (about an extra 21 miles per hour), this would result in national income being 3.6% lower in 20 years than it would have been without the storm.